Innovation competition: opportunity to work with leading UK retailer
Institute for Sustainability searches for innovative solutions to help cut the lighting bill or water use of a major supermarket chain
The Institute is looking for market ready and close to market solutions for real world challenges identified by the retailer. Competition winners with market ready solutions will have the opportunity to demonstrate their innovation at a Sainsbury’s supermarket with the potential to roll out their product across stores in the UK. Qualifying winners and runners up will be able to showcase and develop their products with the support of the Climate-KIC network of close to 100 partners from leading organisations across Europe.
The Chief Executive of the Institute for Sustainability, Ian Short, said: “The market in climate change adaptation and mitigation innovations is still young and a lack of confidence in new approaches, restricted opportunities to trial innovations and concerns about risk and reward are acting as barriers to take-up. By working closely with potential buyers to understand their issues and requirements better, we hope to stimulate suppliers, innovators and researchers to respond with innovation that solves real world challenges.”
Although a wide range of initiatives to minimise environmental impacts has already been implemented in new and existing Sainsbury’s stores, the retailer has identified two areas where it is still looking for optimal solutions: lighting and water use.
Lighting accounts for between approximately 14% and 20% of energy use in stores. While investments have been made in new, more efficient products and careful design, there is potential to reduce energy consumption further. Relatively small efficiency savings are important – just a few per cent increase in efficiency could result in significant energy savings when applied to more than 900 stores.
Sainsbury’s has already reduced its water consumption by one-third to three million m3 per annum and is looking for ways to reduce this further. Rainwater harvesting is already employed, with large roof areas providing more grey water than can be used within stores, where there is still a substantial requirement for clean water, including for cleaning and hot food production area.
The closing date for entries is 1 August 2012 and the winners will be announced in September. Full details are available on the competition website, www.cmacompetition.co.uk.
The competition is part of the Climate Market Accelerator (CMA) project, which aims to speed up the time it takes for climate change adaptation and mitigation innovations to reach the market. The relative immaturity of this market can slow the take-up of innovative products, with many organisations concerned about potential risk and return on investment. Alongside this, many innovation support initiatives tend to focus on the supply side (technology push), rather than on the demands of buyers (market pull). CMA is a pan-European project, working with leading experts to help demand side partners define their requirements in ways which will stimulate suppliers to respond with effective solutions.
As part of the UK pilot, Sustainable Innovations Forums are being set up for property owners, investors and managers in the following areas: retail, commercial/municipal and residential. The competition is the first activity being undertaken by the Retail Sustainable Innovations Forum, led by Sainsbury’s. Other Climate Market Accelerator pilots include plans for partners in Holland to work with water authorities and for German partners to work with utilities providers.